SERDE Cultural Residencies // Kultūras Rezidences consultancy, Aizpute
- Publication date
- 2008, Aizpute, SERDE, Cultural residencies, work exchange, socially-engaged, artist residency, guest-host, Latvia
This entry gathers files related to the invited consultancy by Andrew Gryf Paterson and Olga Mashkina (a transition-economics /environmental policy researcher, then based in Helsinki) were invited as residents of, and consultants for, Interdisciplinary Arts Group SERDE in Aizpute, Latvia, during the week 9th-15th June 2008.
Signe Pucena coordinates a cultural house and workshops with her husband Ugis Pucens, and other associated members of SERDE. The cultural house is located in Aizpute, a small town (5000 population) in Kurzeme, western Latvia. SERDE have an old traditional wooden building, converted to independent cultural house with 20 beds, and ceramic, wood and metal craft workshops. We were asked to explore the cultural residency potentials in this countryside town, where economics and enterprising human resources are tight. SERDE have become national award-winners in the category for cultural heritage in Latvia (2007: with the 'Točka' project: homemade/illegal vodka-making culture), and had recently received Ministry of Culture grant to host visual artist residents in 2009.
Our remit was to work each day, reflecting on the idea of being a cultural resident and a guest in Aizpute, researching the social-economic and cultural features of the town. The consultancy was made with relation to the needs and development of the host organisation SERDE, but aims to apply generally in the Latvian context. As an economicist, it was Mashkina's task to consider and present the benefit to local economy culture residencies could have, while Paterson decided it would be useful to 'unpack' the different types of cultural residency beyond the 'classic' model, to consider the above factors.
The following questions about the 'Guest' were considered: What does the guest bring to the residency? How does the guest engage in their new surroundings What are the responsibilities of the guest to the host?
There were also interesting things for the 'Host' to think about: How does the guest fit into the ideals of the hosting centre? How does the guest relate to the surrounding community or landscape? How much should locale engagement be facillitated? What is the benefit to the host?
They made arrangements to speak with 1 or 2 significant persons in the town, such as the local director of town museum & tourist information, finance members of the town council and several local business and cultural persons. On the basis of these conversations it seemed appropriate, due to the emergent eco-tourism of the region, to project SERDE as a potential host-facillitator for contact/experience-exchange with local arts, heritage and ecological practitioners and specialists.
This idea was enhanced through their own experience of meeting a local beer-maker, who was sharing tips and processes with SERDE, in preparation of a beer-making workshop hosted by SERDE.
At the end of the week, Mashkina and Paterson made a slide presentation including local images, with text translated-to-Latvian. Our spoken presentation lasted 1 hr, made in our mother-tongues of English and Russian, including an introduction to the SERDE Art House & Activities by Signe Pucena in Latvian. Within the audience included other members of SERDE organisation, local cultural teachers and importantly 4 members of the local town council. Following the persons present (about 10 people) discussed among themselves in Latvian, responding to our suggestions. Later in the evening a beer-making workshop was hosted by SERDE.
It seemed that the efforts were appreciated by SERDE group, the audience, and importantly agreeable with the town councillers present. Other Latvian cultural organisation members attended the gathering in Aizpute, such as NOASS and RIXC, who were interested to hear about the consultancy process and suggestions. Afterwards the slides and notes were with other cultural non-profit organisations in Latvia (including those who host residencies such as Pedvale Open Air Art Museum, Singalong Hostel, K@2 Centre for Culture and Information), and internationally, in a 'open-source & residencies' themed email-list.
Timeline: 9-14th June 2008
Monday – Initial fieldwork and tour round Aizpute, Online research.
Tuesday – Meeting with Director of Museum & Tourist Information Centre.
Wednesday – Meeting with Economical Counciller in Town Hall, Meeting with Director of Local
Thursday – Meeting with Local business woman (Catering & Restaurant), Meeting with Local
Friday – Making of slides & text translation from English to Latvian.
Saturday – Presentation at SERDE to local audience.
Slides and texts are bi-lingual in English and Latvian.
- 2017-04-15 09:42:59
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